Graphic Novels and Your Library: Why and How
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
April 8, 2008 - May 5, 2008
Graphic novels are here to stay. In the past decade, they have become increasingly popular in both public and school library collections. Nevertheless, many library workers are not sure whether graphic novels are appropriate for their own libraries, and are unfamiliar with the practical aspects of offering this format. In this course we’ll explore all the fundamental questions:
- What IS a graphic novel, and how is it different from a comic book?
- Who reads graphic novels?
- What’s available in graphic novels?
- How can my library develop and promote healthy graphic novel collections?
- Where can we turn if the collection is challenged, either by our community or by our own staff?
We’ll also examine and debunk some myths about graphic novels, including assertions about the age ranges interested in the format and the literacy levels of graphic novel fans. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about building, maintaining, and promoting a collection of graphic novels that will be sure to engage your library’s users.
Workshop Description: This course will introduce you to the practical aspects of incorporating graphic novels into your library’s offerings. You will learn about the range of the graphic novel’s audience, appropriate venues for selection, effective means for processing and circulating these items, and changing cataloging standards. This course will also give you the tools you need to respond to potential challenges related to graphic novels.
This four-week online learning course will provide you with original course readings and supplemental materials drawn from a range of professional sources. Through individual and group exercises, you will become acquainted with many aspects of both graphic novels and their readers, as well as with bibliographic methods related to library maintenance of graphic novel collections. You will complete a work plan for your library’s graphic novel collection, whether this collection already exists or you are just beginning to consider adding this format. The instructor will provide sample plans, bibliographies, and a webliography, as well as practical, useful tips that can be applied immediately.
During the course, you will be reading graphic novels, doing exercises, and taking quizzes. You will also participate in online discussion forums as part of the online learning process.
Preliminary Course Outline:
- Module One: Graphic Novels and Libraries: What, Who, and Why
- What’s the place of the graphic novel format in today’s library?
- Library myths about graphic novels
- Getting to know the format as a reader
- Module Two: Graphic Novel Collection Development
- Building appropriate graphic novel collections
- Understanding graphic novel criticism
- Using core lists to enhance your collection
- Module Three: Technical Concerns
- Cataloging and classification issues
- Processing and maintenance issues
- Locating the collection to meet users’ needs and expectations
- Module Four: Collection Promotion
- Meeting challenges
- Policy considerations
Pre-workshop assignment: During this course, you will be expected to read graphic novels. If you do not have access to a graphic novel collection locally, you may need to interlibrary loan some titles before the course begins. Please select at least two of the following titles to read during the first week of this online course and prepare to have them available to yourself for use by that time. The titles on this list are a few years old and widely available at school, public, and some academic libraries throughout California.
Miller, Frank. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. DC Comics, 1996.
Sacco, Joe. Safe Area Gorazde. Fantagraphics Books, 2000.
Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis (volume 1: The Story of Childhood). Pantheon, 2003.
Talbot, Bryan. The Tale of One Bad Rat. Dark Horse Comics, 1994.
Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese. First Second, 2006.
Online Learning Details:
This four-week course will be taught online using the web. When you register, you will receive a registration confirmation that will include the URL to get to the course, as well as a username and password.
Every student proceeds through the online learning modules at his or her own pace. Students should expect to commit to spending a minimum of 2 to 2½ hours per week on this course in order to be successful. You can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night. However, you will be expected to log in to the course each week to do that week’s assignment. We ask that you log in sometime during the first week of the course to begin the course work.
Your instructor will be available for limited consultation support for two weeks after the official end date of a course, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that, to give those who have fallen behind time to work independently on the course. However, you will be expected to accomplish the majority of the course in synchronization with your peers during the first four weeks.
Who Should Take This Course: This course is appropriate for anyone from the library community with an interest in understanding and providing relevant graphic novel collections to adults, teens, and/or children, as well as for those in public and school libraries who must respond to technical and political aspects of graphic novel collection, maintenance, and promotion. Technical services staff who must now handle materials in this format will also benefit from this course.
This course is taught over the web. You must:
- Have an Internet connection and Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher.
- Be able to save Microsoft Word .doc or Adobe .pdf files to your computer and print them out. (For .doc files, a free Word Viewer is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/search.aspx?displaylang=en. Search for “Word Viewer.” For .pdf files, a free Adobe Acrobat Reader is available at http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/main.html).
- Be comfortable navigating on the web and navigating back and forward on a website that uses frames.
- To be most successful in this course you should be willing to share information with your colleagues and be willing to spend time reading and participating in the weekly discussion boards.
System Requirements: The online learning product that Infopeople uses is called Angel. The following are minimum system requirements for using Angel. You will need access to a computer that has at least these specifications to participate in an online course:
- Internet Explorer 6.0 and above, Netscape 7.1 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above
- Mozilla 1.4 and above (which is the same engine as Netscape 7.1), Safari 2.0 and above, or Firefox 1.5 and above
- OS X and above (OS 9 will NOT work with our online learning product)
If you are not comfortable with any of the above, please consider taking this course with a colleague who does meet these requirements.
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and $150 for those out-of-state.
Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on April 8, 2008.